Point of View

March 9, 2010, 4:53 pm
Filed under: City Theater

City Theatre and the Adrienne Arsht Center will bring something completely new to families this summer with Camp Kappawanna a World Premiere Musical where, from the minute you walk in the door, you feel as if you are back at summer camp. The new musical boasts hip, cool music penned by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb along with a book by South Florida native and rising national star Marco Ramirez.   

Lisa Loeb

Through their partnership with the Adrienne Arsht Center, City Theatre held the first reading of Camp Kappawanna on Sunday, February 28, in the Next Generation Greenroom.  City Theatre Producing Artistic Director and Camp Kappawanna conceiver Stephanie Norman introduced the cast and director Sean Paul Bryan to Loeb and Ramirez, who participated live from Los Angeles via Skype.  The assembled audience was treated to three brand-new songs by Loeb and her songwriting partners Michelle Lewis and Dan Petty.  After the reading, attendees were able to speak directly with all artists to discuss the process of creating a show from page to stage. 

Camp Kappawanna is the story of Jennifer Jenkins, awkward and adorable and 12.  She’s going away for the summer – her very first time leaving home.  The piece builds upon City Theatre’s successful collaboration with Loeb on “Best Friend,” heard during last season’s Shorts 4 Kids series.  “Best Friend” is from Lisa Loeb’s self-published Camp Lisa CD, proceeds from which help send kids to camp who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend.    

City Theatre has enjoyed a long relationship with Marco Ramirez, starting with his participation in the company’s KidShorts project to mentor young writers as a student at Coral Reef Senior High, and continuing through his professional career with 7 productions on the festival’s stages.   

Marco Ramirez

City Theatre’s Camp Kappawanna sets out to create a new classic in celebration of the company’s 15th Anniversary Summer Shorts Festival.

Summer Shorts Festival presents its Award-Winning Pairs
June 8, 2009, 10:46 pm
Filed under: City Theater

Miami-Dade County contest winners of the Summer Shorts Festival’s first annual Create-A-Short Contest were recognized this past Saturday, June 6, at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Miami-Dade and Broward County students grades K through 8 were given the opportunity to win a variety of prizes by designing a pair of paper shorts for the fun summer festival. Talented students throughout Miami and Broward submitted drawn-in, colored, adorned, painted, glued, glittered, and penciled entries but only a dozen from both counties were ultimately chosen as winners.

Before Saturday matinee performance of Shorts 4 Kids!, the Summer Shorts Festival’s family-friendly installment of a series of hilarious short plays, the Miami-Dade County contest winners were presented on-stage with a Create-A-Short Award and prizes ranging from Summer Shorts Festival tickets, gift cards to Borders, and day passes to the Miami Children’s Museum. Presenting to the proud winners was celebrated philanthropist and developer, Jorge Perez, City Theatre Co-Founder and Executive Director Stephanie Norman, and City Theatre Artistic Director Stuart Meitzer.

Jorge Perez (CEO, Related Group) and the winners; photo by Mitchell Zachs

Jorge Perez (CEO, Related Group) and the winners; photo by Mitchell Zachs

“We really wanted to do something to involve the children in their own creative process,” says Norman.

The works of these young artists is being prominently displayed as an art installation along the Center’s Carnival Studio Theater’s Biscayne Boulevard windows. One of the first place winners, 7th grader Kinsley Rants of Grace Christian Academy, created a pair of shorts inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting “Starry Night.”

Miami-Dade County winners include First Place: 3rd grader Nicole Cinquino of Dante B. Fascell Elementary and 7th grader Kinsley Rants of Grace Christian Academy; Second Place: 3rd grader Luciana Naretti of Dante B. Fascell Elementary and 5th grader Kimani Griffin of Phyllis Ruth Miller; Third Place: Kindergartner Kyle Behar of Lehrman Community Day School and 5th grader Keith Hagood of Greynolds Park Elementary.

Broward County winners will be awarded on June 27 at the Broward Center (fact check) and include: First Place: 1st grader Alexa Bieber of Manatee Bay Elementary and 1st grader Nicole Svensson of Manatee Bay Elementary; Second Place: 1st grader Jason Cohen of Manatee Bay Elementary and 5th grader Nastia Gold of Hollywood Central Elementary; Third Place: 1st grader Sasha Gold of Hollywood Central Elementary and 1st grader Corey Steinman of Manatee Bay Elementary.

For additional information on the Summer Shorts Festival and its performances, please visit www.citytheatre.com.

Local Talents Shine in 14th Annual Summer Shorts
June 2, 2009, 3:44 am
Filed under: City Theater

The 14th annual Summer Shorts Theatre Festival was launched on Friday night in the Carnival Studio Theater in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. The festival is the country’s biggest celebration of one-act plays, designed as three distinct series: Signature Shorts (the original), Shorts 4 Kids, and the adults onlyundershorts. City Theatre and the Adrienne Arsht Center continue their Summer Shorts partnership this year, shining the spotlight on a stage graced with some of South Florida’s finest born-and-bred theater talent.


The Carbonell Award-winning festival has become a nationally recognized event, “We partner with America’s most prestigious theater festival, the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville,” said Stephanie Norman, City Theatre Co-Founder and Executive Director. “With a wealth of the nation’s best writers penning work for our stages we felt that this year’s line-up needed to be hilarious, poignant– and certainly rocking.”

“The new playwrights we’ve added to the festival this year are nationally known talents, combined with festival stalwarts such as festival favorite Rich Orloff and South Florida’s nationally rising star, Marco Ramirez,” comments City Theatre Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer.

A Hialeah native, Ramirez started with City Theatre several years ago in the Shorts 4 Kids mentoring program for student playwrights, when he was a student at Coral Reef Senior High. He went on from there to become an intern with City Theatre, and attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating from NYU, Marco served as the Company’s Literary Manager. “Marco is a prolific playwright,” says Norman.” We’ve produced six of his plays.”

Ramirez has also produced plays at Mad Cat Theatre, The Kennedy Center (Helen Hayes nomination), and Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays (Heideman Award in 2006 and 2009). He’s a proud recipient of the Drama Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center. He currently continues to study playwriting at the Juilliard School.

Ramirez has two plays this year in the Shorts 4 Kids program: Regina Flector Wins the Science Fair and Special Features: A Play About a Movie Marvin’s Making, which was especially written for Shorts 4 Kids. When asked about writing for the Summer Shorts Festival, he recently told Miami Artzine, “You really have to push any creative muscles you’ve got to the limit… It’s kind of like asking yourself, ‘What’s the 10-minute play that no one else can/will write?’ and then writing that play.”

Undershorts is an adult companion to Shorts 4 Kids, touted as, “Naughty, bawdy, and not for the kiddies”! Miami-based playwright Christopher Demos-Brown, commends City Theatre for their attention to the short play, calling their production values “first class” and the acting “exceptional”.

His contribution to undershorts, So I Am Wondering…, is about a terminally ill man who asks his friend to lunch in order to proposition him for sex as a dying wish.

The Summer Shorts Festival trio of programs will perform at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami from May 28 – June 21, 2009 followed by a summer residency at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale from June 25 – 28, 2009.

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